The thing about writing up the biggest play in a 40-10 game is you can pretty much just toss a dart at any play-by-play recap you can find and just go to town, because it’s all just washed in terms of win expectancy.
But, note for a second the near perfect symmetry of scoring in this game. In the first half Dallas scored 20 points. In the second half Dallas scored 20 points. While SF wasn’t quite so neat with their distribution (two 5 point halves would have made for a much more interesting article than you’re about to read), they did put 3 up in the first half and a final, somewhat dignity-restoring 7 in the second half.
That would mean that near half time, Dallas was holding a 20-3 lead.
It’s not like a 20-3 lead has ever been blown in a noteworthy game in the second half. Heck, 28-3 even.
But, no, there would be no comeback, due in no small part to:
The Play: :46 remaining in the second quarter, 2nd Goal from the Dallas 5
Joe Staley is a silverback. He’s been around, and good, for so long that he doesn’t even really need to be ‘good’ anymore to be an immensely valuable NFL asset. He’s the kind of just-show-up-and-start left tackle that Tyron Smith might someday turn into in a bad-case scenario.
And DeMarcus Lawrence just obliterated him, his legacy, the very idea of Joe Staley as anything but chattel, tossed aside in the name of stamping out the final ashes of what fire San Francisco had remaining on this day.
There’s really no analytical value to it. Sometimes you just sit back and enjoy a football player deciding to be unblockable.
In truth, C.J. Beathard may have been lucky it was Lawrence that got to him first; Tyrone Crawford was one step behind, and just behind him was David Irving, aligned well enough that an arm-meets-helmet collision was possible.
The complexion of the game would have been different with a 20-10 halftime score. It’s not that close, but your kicker is a yokel who hasn’t figured out zone coverage given half a decade in Dallas and more developmental time given than the entirety of the DVD triumvirate; that’s a different feel than 20-3.
For all it’s strengths, one thing Dallas has lacked, probably since Jimmy, was the boot-on-the-throat instinct to bury a team beyond hope of coming back. This was nothing but that.
Ask Joe for his thoughts on Jeff Heath's future as the Cowboys' placekicker on Twitter @thejoeursery.